Documents obtained through a freedom of information request by Postmedia News revealed that $5,000 in chips disappeared from River Rock Casino in Richmond, British Columbia. The documents are highly revised in order to protect ongoing criminal investigations, but these raised nail-biting concerns regarding the presence of underground economy in British Columbia’s casinos, which is viewed as a threat to public safety. As if that is not disturbing enough, the recent revelations put the reputation and integrity of British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) casinos at stake.
The recently disclosed documents claim that $5,000 in chips disappeared from River Rock Casino in 2016. As a result, the casino launched a “wholesale chips exchange” as part of a confidential plan to recover the missing chips. However, the documents claim that a leakage of information between BCLC and the casino workers occurred, which delayed the entire process.
According to the documents in 2015, River Rock witnessed a drastic increase in the number of casino patrons, who are leaving with large volumes of $5,000 chips. Since then, the issue appeared on BCLC’s radar screens. The corporation explained that the stacks of chips were a viable threat to the personal safety of the people in possession of these.
Internal records claim that the province’s gambling regulator BCLC was concerned that River Rock’s $5,000 chips might have been used to fund illegal gambling in British Columbia. The scandalous name of Paul King Jin was also related to the case. Documents claim that an unusually high number of “unsourced chips” were delivered to River Rock by an illicit banking network, allegedly operated by the 50-year old man. As it can be recalled, Jin has become the main suspect of an investigation into money laundering in British Columbia casinos, conducted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
Chip Exchange Program to Cover the Missing Chips
In January 2016, the police issued a recall of $5,000 chips at Richmond’s River Rock. The chips were taken from high-limit betting rooms, where high-rollers were given cash or new chips in exchange for the old casino chips. The documents allege that the recall was postponed due to various reasons, while River Rock’s staff was highly concerned about the missing chips.
A December internal e-mail signals that there was, indeed, a leakage of information regarding the chip swap operation. Another e-mail sent in January 2016 among BCLC workers made it clear that the chip exchange operation was set to take place on 18th January.
According to the documents, River Rock workers were mainly concerned that the casino may not have enough $5,000 chips to meet the needs of the Asian high rollers for the Chinese New Year, as it was decided that the casino will not issue more chips worth $5,000 prior to the completion of the chip swap program.